Information-seeking trends of medical professionals and students from middle-income countries: A focus on the Philippines

Alex I. Gavino, Beverly Lorraine C. Ho, Pura Angela A. Wee, Alvin B. Marcelo, Paul Fontelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Increased emphasis has been given to the practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM) worldwide. Access to quality health information is essential to the practice of EBM in developing countries. Objectives: To understand the information needs and sources of information of physicians from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Methods: Medical doctors and students participated in an 18-question online or paper study. Results: Of the 156 respondents from six LMICs, 146 (94%) came from the Philippines. Eighty-eight per cent encountered at least one clinical question daily, while 58% were very likely to search for answers. A basic mobile phone was the most used device at home (94%) and at work (82%). More than half had Internet connectivity at home (62%) and just under half at work (46%). In decreasing order, short messaging services (SMS), email, instant messaging and multimedia messaging services (MMS) were the most commonly used messaging tools at home and at work. The primary source for medication questions was a formulary, but for diagnostic dilemmas, colleagues were consulted first. PubMed use was high for therapy and management questions. Conclusion: The use of health information from the Internet through mobile devices may be increasing. Access to health information was higher at home than at work. These results may be useful when planning resources for healthcare givers in resource-poor settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Information and Libraries Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Asia
  • Doctors
  • Information seeking behaviour
  • Medical
  • Medline
  • South East
  • Students


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